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RSG Crossword Tournament helps to celebrate language
2016-07-27

Description: RSG Crossword Tournament  Tags: RSG Crossword Tournament

Dr Annette de Wet (left), Assistant Director
of the Unit for Language Development in
the Centre for Teaching and Learning at
the UFS, Albe Grobbelaar from XWord,
Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the
Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German
and French, and Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the
Faculty of the Humanities, during the launch
of the RSG Crossword Tournament.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Sometimes it is difficult for language departments to be topical and to show their relevance for the people out there. However, with the RSG Crossword Tournament, this became possible and Afrikaans could be celebrated in a positive manner. This is what Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS), had to say about this initiative.

Interest during the Vrystaat Arts Festival exceeded all expectations. Altogether, 46 participants from across the country participated on 15 and 16 July 2016. Ilse van Hemert from Pretoria was crowned as the first South African crossword champion.

New dimension to language milieu

Prof Van Niekerk said people are familiar with crossword puzzles from the media, and it was the first time that a tournament like this was presented to the public in South Africa. “This tournament brings something like linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to the fore,” she said. “It is another dimension of the language milieu.” This is exactly why her department would like to see it grow in future.

Wordplay serves as inspiration

The idea for the tournament is based loosely on the film, Wordplay (2006), which is set in New York, and the annual New York Times Crossword Tournament. The South African Tournament was presented in conjunction with the crossword group, XWord, Prof Van Niekerk’s department, and the radio station RSG as brand sponsor.

Crossword puzzles and blockbusters crosswords completed

“This tournament brings something like
linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to
the fore.”


Albe Grobbelaar from XWord said the winners were determined on a points basis. “Competitors had to complete two crossword puzzles and one blockbuster crossword. The difference between the two is that a blockbuster’s clues are within the blocks or grid, but with the crossword, you have white and black blocks with the clues separate on the outside.”

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